The Linguistic Case for the Aiolian Migration Reconsidered

by Holt N. Parker

Hesperia, Volume 77, Issue 3
Page(s): 431-464
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40205757
Year: 2008


Ascribing the presence of speakers of Lesbian in the northeast Aegean during historical times to the migration of Aiolian tribes from mainland Greece receives no support from linguistics. Migration is not the only or even primary way in which languages and dialects may spread. Moreover, on reexamination, the idea of an Aiolic dialect group falls apart. Boiotian, separated by the First Compensatory Lengthening from Lesbian and Thessalian, appears as a conservative dialect, most closely related to West Greek. In turn, Lesbian and Thessalian are both archaic branches of Greek that share no demonstrable common innovations. They are best viewed as two separate relic areas of a relatively unaltered early Greek.